In opening the door to direct diplomacy with South Korea, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has raised some serious hope of peace talks actually happening, but also has some speculating that he’s deliberately trying to drive a wedge between the US and South Korean governments.
This assumption is based on South Korean President Moon’s outspoken support for talks, and unsurprisingly his quick welcome for Kim’s comments, coupled with President Trump’s overt hostility for anything that seems too much like diplomacy, means the two sides will argue about this overture.
This may well be the case, but the North Korean government hardly has excluded the US from possible diplomacy, and this talk of direct engagement with South Korea only came after several weeks of calls by North Korean and Russian officials for tripartite talks with the US failed to produce any measurable response.
President Moon has also been more than willing to navigate around President Trump’s position in trying to get talks going, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that, now that North Korea is more amenable to negotiations, the US may be cut out of the process.
Whether direct talks on the Korean Peninsula can actually accomplish anything is another matter, as North Korea’s primary goal is to remove the threat of a US attack, something South Korea can’t realistically offer them, and without which they’ll doubtless not consider disarmament.